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Egyptian Theatre supporters raising funds for programs

DeKALB – Melissa Irick understands the importance of supporting the Egyptian Theatre.

Irick, a DeKalb resident who was a member of the theater's board from 2009 to 2011, already has donated $25 to the newest fundraising effort for the Egyptian, which has been spurred by an anonymous donor's offer to make a contribution.

The donor has vowed to match a donation of up to $25,000 if Egyptian Theatre supporters can raise that amount by Aug. 15.

"Any donation is great," Irick said. "Mine was a small donation. Since everything gets matched, it's like you're doubling your donation." 

Alex Nerad, the theater's executive director, said the anonymous donor is from the DeKalb area and has supported the theater in the past.

The money will be used for programming and other activities, which are regularly funded from the theater's $350,000 operational budget, Nerad said.

The budget is normally funded with proceeds from theater rentals, ticket sales, donations and sponsorships, Nerad said. 

The Egyptian Theatre hopes to add a couple of members to its current three-member staff if fundraising reaches the $50,000 goal. They also want to bring more national tours to the area and show more films.

"This is a great opportunity to educate the community about what is needed here in the theatre to accomplish the level of activity people would like to see," Nerad said.

It is unlikely fundraising will cover the installation of an air conditioning system, which the Egyptian has never had, Nerad said. Previous estimates have found it would cost $2.5 million for air conditioning. For want of air conditioning, the theater remains closed during the summer months.

Within a day of launching the fundraising campaign, the Egyptian already had raised more than $1,000. Theater boosters are reaching out via social media and email to ask for donations.

More than half of the people who have already donated are those who haven't donated in recent years, Nerad said.

The fundraiser is a great way to promote the historic architecture at the Egyptian Theatre for the younger generation to enjoy, Irick said.

"It's been around for a long time. It's such a treasure for the community," she said. "It's just a beautiful gem." 

To donate

Donations are accepted at the Egyptian Theatre's website at Information is available by calling 815-758-1215.

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